Reserving Space in the Student Unions

The Reservations Office, located on the Main Floor of the William Pitt Union, is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. For additional information, please contact or 412-648-7817.


To create an EMS account:

  • You must be an officer in a SORC certified student organization
  • View our online training module
  • Complete the quiz at the end of the tutorial
  • Send in your quiz results to
  • You must also apply for an account with EMS
  • Be sure to use your Pitt username and password- if your account is inactive or pending, DO NOT apply for another account!
  • New users will be notified via e-mail when their account has been activated


Once your account has been made active, begin reserving space by visiting Virtual EMS.
For additional assistance troubleshooting the virtual side of EMS, check out our YouTube channel.



Reserving Space in Other University Buildings

All student organizations certified by the Office of Student Life, through the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC), are eligible to reserve space in other University buildings.

These designated rooms may be reserved through EMS. These rooms are available after 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and after 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

These requests are processed and approved through the Registrar’s Office. All WPU/OSC Reservations policies apply in addition to University guidelines as they relate to University classroom and programming space.



Forms, Policies, and Procedures


A University account number is required on all facility requests. The use of the WPU/OSC facilities is free to all eligible sponsors. Sponsors, however, are responsible for costs incurred for the services as defined herein. University units may use OSC Dining Room and Ballroom free of charge for programs that are primarily for students during available hours. All other non-student programs will be assessed a flat fee of $750 for each use of each room, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The fee includes standard set-up and technical services. The cost for extraordinary requirements will be charged to the sponsor.
Each sponsor will be informed of all charges in advance with the exception of those incurred after confirmation of the set-up arrangements and those resulting from the event. The condition of all rooms is checked before and after each event. Organizations using the space are held responsible for the condition of the room. The repair of damages or extraordinary maintenance resulting from a program will be scheduled through Facilities Management at the sponsor’s expense. The sponsor is also responsible for direct payment of all other expenses.

Confirmation Process

Program commitments should not be made prior to receipt of an email confirmation from the WPU/OSC Reservations Office. Users are responsible for reading and adhering to the instructions assigned with each confirmed space. Users must bring their confirmation to the event.
The WPU/OSC Reservations Office retains the right to cancel an event, reassign a confirmed space or relocate any confirmed program. The sponsoring group will be notified of any changes made in room assignments.


Certified student organizations and all units of the University are eligible to request space in the William Pitt Union (WPU) and O'Hara Student Center (OSC). The Division of Student Affairs and certified student organizations have priority use of the O’Hara Student Center; other University units may use the facility 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the Fall and Spring terms and during all operating hours during the Summer term.

To request space in the WPU and the OSC, eligible users must create an account with EMS, by visiting Virtual EMS.

EMS Account

If you are a first time user, you will need to request an account. Before your account will be activated, you’ll have to view the new virtual training module and pass the online quiz. Click here  to access the training module and get more detailed instructions. Once your account is created and approved, your account will be activated within two (2) business days. Your password is the same as your Pitt password.

Event Supervision

William Pitt Union/O'Hara Student Center management staff supervise all program activities and are available to assist sponsors with the implementation of the program. Management staff conduct routine checks of all events. The WPU/OSC Building Managers may require the special assignment of its staff or University Police to supervise an event at the sponsor’s expense. Management staff may be contacted at all times through the Information Desk on the main floor.

Extra Charges


Custodians $36/hour $144 for 4 hours
Electrician $98/hour $392 for 4 hours
Engineer $69/hour $276 for 4 hours
Grounds Crew $41/hour $164 for 4 hours
Pitt Police $46.60/hour $186.40 for 4 hours
Food and Beverages

Food and beverages are prohibited in University classrooms. Food and beverages are permitted in WPU/OSC meeting rooms with advance approval and submission of the WPU/OSC Snack Request Form to the Reservations office.
Programs with food service must use Campus Catering, available at 412-648-2302. All arrangements for food services are the responsibility of the sponsor. Room set-ups must be coordinated with the Catering and Reservations Offices. Campus Catering wait staff is required for events with attendance over 50.
Catering Exemptions
Exemptions are limited to foods that are not available through Campus Catering. Catering Exemptions for events held in the WPU/OSC can be requested through the Reservations Office and online. A Catering Exemption Form must be submitted a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to the event. Forms are available at the Reservations Office. Submission of the form does not constitute approval. If a catering exemption is approved, the organization is responsible for complying with WPU/OSC and University guidelines. Sponsors are not permitted to have access to the kitchen. No heating elements are permitted.
With the exception of events with wait staff, the organization is responsible for the clean-up of the facility. Drop-off food service is limited to 50 people.
Alcoholic Beverages
Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public areas and student offices. Undergraduate, non-College of General Studies student organizations may not serve alcohol at their student programs. Graduate and CGS organizations may serve alcohol. The serving of alcoholic beverages at any event must be approved in advance by the Reservations Office. Alcohol may not be served at functions where undergraduate students or children may be in attendance. Under no circumstance can minors be served alcohol or be permitted to consume alcohol at their own discretion, nor may alcohol be sold in any manner. To ensure compliance with the laws of Pennsylvania,specific conditions for each event will be established by the Reservations Office. The sponsor is responsible for the purchase of alcoholic beverages and the delivery of the alcohol. The set-up and bartenders must be arranged through Campus Catering. University bartenders or wait staff are responsible for the distribution of alcohol at events.

Forms and Policies

Click here to view our forms.


Cancellation and No-Show
All cancellations must be made in EMS. For multipurpose rooms, this must happen at least five (5) business days before the event; for meeting rooms, classrooms, the dance studio, and information tables, at least one (1) business day before the event. If aUniversity unit or Academic Department fails to notify the Reservations Office of the cancellation, they will incur a financial penalty of $100 per event plus tech charges. Those that do not cancel the reservation and do not “show up” for the event will be charged $150 per event plus tech charges. The requestor’s University account, registered with the Reservations Office, will automatically be billed.
For SORC Certified Student Organizations:

No-Show: Rooms without Technical Services

  • 1st Offense
    Warning via e-mail (will be documented and tracked in EMS)
  • 2nd Offense
    Mandatory Meeting with a member of WPU or OSC management.
  • 3rd Offense
    EMS account will be made inactive and all reservations for the remainder of the semester will be canceled.

No-Show: Rooms with Technical Services

  • 1st Offense
    Warning via e-mail (will be documented and tracked in EMS)
  • 2nd Offense
    Mandatory Meeting with the Technical Services Manager
  • 3rd Offense
    Organization/Department will no longer receive any technical services for the remainder of the semester.

To see a video on cancelling or modifying a reservation in EMS, please click here.


Any organization or department wishing to show a movie or film in spaces controlled by the William Pitt Union or O’Hara Student Center Reservations Offices are required to purchase the appropriate licensing, regardless of an admission fee. No requests will be approved until a copy of the license is received.


For information on obtaining a license and cost, please contact one of the film distributors listed below:



Any organization or department who fails to comply with this policy and is found showing a movie or film without purchasing a performance license will have their event shut down immediately and will have reservation rights suspended for one year from the date of the violation.

Posting and Chalking Guidelines for Students and Registered Student Organizations
  1. Generals Posting Notice: The University offers many designated posting areas in and around the campus.  The placement of posters, notices, flyers or similar materials is permitted only on designated University posting boards.  Some campus facilities, such as athletic buildings and academic buildings may have additional requirements for posting materials, accordingly students should contact the appropriate administrator for the specific building prior to posting any materials.  The placement of posters, notices, flyers or similar materials is prohibited on any permanent University structure, including but not limited to benches, brick, bus stops, campus signage, columns, concrete, doors, emergency call phones, fixtures, light poles, glass, mailboxes, newsstands, painted surfaces, railings, seating, sidewalks, staircases, trash cans, tresses, walls (interior and exterior), windows, wood surfaces, etc.
  1. University Residence Halls: Students are not permitted to place any posters, notices, flyers or similar materials within the Residence Halls without first seeking the approval of the Office of Residence Life, located in 935 William Pitt Union. Except as permitted in the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life Policies and Procedures, students in University Housing (including Residence Halls) are not permitted to display in or hang from the windows any posters, notices, flyers or similar materials.
  1. William Pitt Union: All advertising within the William Pitt Union and the O’Hara Student Center must be submitted and approved in accordance with the Student Unions’ Policies and Procedures.
  1. Posting Requirements: Each poster, notice, flyer or similar material must be for a campus-wide event, be non-commercial in nature, and contain the name and current contact information of the Student and/or Registered Student Organizations. No more than one poster, notice, flyer or similar material may be placed on each posting board.   No materials may be place over the materials of other groups, unless the previously advertised event has passed.
  1. Chalking: Students and Registered Student Organizations wishing to chalk may do so provided the chalking is on a horizontal walking surface (e.g., sidewalk), that is in an open area that is exposed daily to the elements (not covered area).  Only use of water-soluble stick type chalk is permitted.

Please be advised that any violation of these guidelines by a Student or Student Organization will be processed under the authority of the Student Code of Conduct. The content of all information posted or chalked on University property must comply with applicable University regulations and local, state and federal laws.

Program Policies

Event Advertising
All advertising within the WPU/OSC must be approved in advance. All media relations must be coordinated with the University News and Publications Department. Posters and flyers are approved and posted by the WPU/OSC staff for University events only. Posters should not exceed 17 x 24". The name of the sponsoring organization(s) must be clearly indicated on all advertisements. Posters written in a foreign language must include an English translation. Any advertising that contains profane or indecent expressions or graphics will not be approved. Unauthorized materials will be removed and destroyed. Posters will be removed after the publicized event has occurred or after having been posted for ten days. Under no circumstances may posters or signs of any nature be affixed to building surfaces, doors, windows or furnishings. Posters are accepted at the WPU/OSC Information Desk.
Student Event Security Guidelines
The Student Event Security Guidelines apply to the following types of on-campus activities and will require THREE UNIVERSITY POLICE OFFICERS ordered by WPU/OSC Building Management:

  • Dances or formals—as defined by the use of music and a designated area for social dancing.
  • Live performances, including but not limited to comedy shows, fashion shows, and live bands.
  • Controversial speakers and/or speakers who travel with personal security personnel.
  • Rallies/protests held on University grounds.
  • Activities held beyond normal building hours.
  • Activities where money is collected.
  • Activities determined by the University to require security personnel.

Student Event Security Requirement
Event attendance is limited to venue capacity. The advisor of the sponsoring group must be present at the activity, and the advisor’s name must be given to University Police beforehand. Events may be restricted to individuals with a valid Pitt ID and/or valid college ID, including University status limitations (e.g., students, faculty or staff). Student events open to individuals not possessing a college ID must be approved by the Office of Student Life. Three University Police officers are required at all dances. Overtime security costs may be billed to the sponsoring organization. Additional requirements may be requested by the University’s Police Department. (These guidelines supplement the University’s Extracurricular Use of University Facilities Policy and Procedure UP Policy and Procedure 09-26-06.)
Any student, University employee, or sponsoring organization having knowledge of potentially disruptive, criminal, or other activity that could endanger the safety of students or others in the University community must report this immediately to the University Police and to the Office of Student Life.
Blood Drives
WPU/OSC only permit one blood drive per day. Technical Services are not available for blood drives.
Outdoor Activities
All activities on the grounds of the William Pitt Union and O’Hara Student Center, including but not limited to the Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard Lawn and Patio, must be approved by the Reservations Office. University police may be required. No activities, approved or otherwise, may violate public law or interfere with the educational processes or rights of other members of the University. No grills, tiki torches or open flames of any kind are permitted. The construction of any structures, the use of tents, displays, equipment, games or any other additions to the premises must comply with safety standards and specifications determined by the Reservations Office in consultation with the Environmental Health and Safety Office, and must be approved by the Reservations Office. All approved outdoor activities must conclude by no later than WPU/OSC operating hours. Requests for outdoor overnight camping or sleeping events will not be approved. Technical services requested are weather permitting and at the discretion of the Technical Manager.
If Campus Catering with wait staff is not used for food, theFacilities Maintenance grounds crew must be hired for clean-up at the sponsor’s expense for events occurring after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or on any Saturday or Sunday. The sponsor will be responsible for any fees associated with any additional maintenance needed. The WPU/OSC Building Manager will schedule all overtime associated with the event. Between November 1 and March 31 events will be scheduled as weather permits. Requests for furnishings and technical support will be determined at the discretion of the WPU/OSC Building Manager.
Concerts, Fashion Shows, Talent Shows
Events of this nature held in the WPU must take place in the Assembly Room. Attendance is limited to 400. Standard set-up is 400 chairs, auditorium style, and beginning one foot from the stage. Organizations planning any of these events must consult with WPU/OSC Technical Services and the Night Manager at least 30 days in advance. When possible, the WPU Kurtzman Room or Dining Room A or B should be reserved for a holding/changing area.
Donations may not be solicited or collected at tabling spaces inside or outside of the William Pitt Union/O'Hara Student Center. Bake-sales and the sale of other items approved by the WPU/OSC Reservations Office may be conducted to raise funds for charity. No lotteries, drawings or games of chance may be used to generate funds for charity.
Vendor Events
All pure sales programs held at the WPU are coordinated through the Reservations Office. Anyone interested must fill out a ‘Campus Vending Request Form’ (link to campus vending request form) prior to the event. Submission of the form does not constitute approval. There is a $200 fee per day per vendor.
Other programs involving the sale of any products will be approved by the Reservations Office if the sale portion of the program is secondary and supportive. All such programs must be able to "stand on their own merit" without sales activities. Whenever possible, all receipts will be administered through the William Pitt Union Ticket Office.
Student organizations are not permitted to encroach on the film series sponsored by the Pitt Program Council and are not permitted to sponsor films for fundraising projects. Prior to submission of the Facilities Request, a student organization sponsoring a film must receive approval of the Pitt Program Council Film Committee Advisor.
The public showing of a movie requires a "public performance" license from the copyright owner. The showing of a movie will be considered to be a "public performance" if either of the following is true: (1) you will be showing the movie to people other than members of your family or a small group of friends; (2) you will be showing the movie in a place that is open to people other than members of your family or a small group of your friends, e.g. classrooms, meeting rooms, lobby, lounge, auditorium etc., whether or not any such people attend. If a public performance license is needed, you can obtain one by renting the movie directly from the distributor that is authorized to grant such licenses, such as Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. or by contacting the copyright holder (generally the studio) directly.
The "public performance" of a movie will not need a license if any of the following is true: (1) you will be showing the movie in the course of "face-to-face teaching activities" that will take place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instructionand you have a legitimate copy of the movie; (2) your copy of the movie came with an express license authorizing the particular manner of showing; (3) the movie is in the "public domain." Please note that there is no general "educational," "nonprofit," or "free of charge” exception. Most showings outside of the class context will require licenses unless they fall within one of the three exceptions listed above.
Political Campaign Activities
See the University Policy.
Academic Courses
No for-credit classes (including presentations) will be scheduled in the WPU/OSC.
Eating Contests
The use of University facilities will not be approved for eating contests.
Special Events
All organizations holding special events are required to meet with WPU/OSC management at least one month before the event to review all details of the event. Requests for catering exemptions must meet the established deadlines. Organizations will be required to pay for additional custodial services, and to assist with trash removal and clean-up of the event. After review of the details of the event, WPU/OSC reserves the right to have the organization hire security to monitor the event. Children attending the event must be under adult supervision at all times.
Special events are defined as: festivals, picnics, talent shows, holiday celebrations, fashion shows, fairs and cultural events.

Reservation Priority Schedule

Reserving Space in Other University Buildings

All student organizations certified by the Office of Student Life, through the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC), are eligible to reserve space in other University buildings. These designated rooms may be reserved through EMS. These rooms are available after 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and after 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Other University rooms may be requested through this form.

These requests are processed and approved through the Registrar's Office. All WPU/OSC Reservations policies apply in addition to University guidelines as they relate to University classroom and programming space.


Eligible users may not request space for personal use, for the use of external affiliates, or for non-certified student organizations. No sponsor may transfer its approved reservation to another group, nor may space reserved for an approved program be utilized for another purpose without the advance approval of the WPU/OSC Reservations Office. Up to three designated members of a certified student organization are authorized to reserve space on behalf of their organization.

Room Set-up

It is the responsibility of the sponsor to confirm the complete program set-up with the Reservations Office a minimum of five (5) business days (Monday through Friday) prior to the event. Any subsequent requests for set-up changes are not guaranteed.

The Reservations Office may rescind the space confirmation if the complete set-up requirements are not received five business days prior to the event. Any cost incurred due to late submission or changes in the set-up will be charged to the sponsor. Any “day of” changes in the set-up or technical services may not be possible.

Rental of Special Order Furniture

If furniture items are needed for an event that are not provided by the WPU/OSC (e.g. pipe and drape; risers; unique furniture types, etc.), a special work request must be made through Facilities Maintenance by contacting Randy Schmotzer at 412-624-8809. Requests must be submitted at least 5 business days prior to the event, and the appropriate account number must be provided at this time.  Event sponsors are responsible for ordering and delivery arrangements, as well as any other costs associated with rented furniture items. Please be aware that additional charges may apply for same day or time specific furniture pick-ups.

The Reservations Office must be informed of the items that have been ordered, and rented items must be accounted for in room set-up plans. Event sponsors must coordinate the delivery time and pick-up time of furniture with the Reservations Office. Overnight storage is not available.

Technical Services

Requests for technical services must be submitted though EMS or by contacting the Technical Services Office (‘’). (Link so person can send email) All requests must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the event.However, services may not be guaranteed. Technical services are granted at the discretion of the Technical Manager. No-show and late fees will be assessed, if necessary. The event sponsor is responsible for any equipment damage during the event.

Events held in the WPU have priority use of the banner space on the Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue porches. Only two banners can be hung at one time. Banners must be blue and gold. Banner size is 13 feet long by 3 feet wide. The requestor is responsible for the making, hanging, and removal of banners. To reserve banner space, a reservation request must be submitted. Upon approval, the requestor will be responsible for submitting a work request to hang and remove the banner to Facilities Management 412-624-9500.

The WPU does not provide storage space before or after events.

Decorations are restricted to table decorations. Nothing may be affixed to walls, doors, ceilings or fixtures. No adjustments will be made on window treatments; tie-back draperies are not to be untied or touched. Candles are not permitted. To ensure compliance with safety regulations, all decorations must be approved in advance through the Reservations Office.  Users are responsible for the removal of all decorations, including balloon clusters. Charges may be assessed for the removal of any items left in the room.

Parking in the WPU driveway is prohibited. Any parking tickets issued to sponsors, performers or participants are their own responsibility. Parking arrangements are the sole responsibility of the sponsor. The WPU offers 15-minute drop-off and pick-up courtesy parking in the driveway. Guests must register their cars at the Information Desk. Guest parking on campus or in the OSC parking lot may be arranged through the University Parking Office in Brackenridge Hall.

Room Set-up Options


Types of Events

• Lecture
• Conference
• Banquet/Waited
• Banquet/Buffet

University Conference Policy for Academic and Administrative Units

Space requests for conferences sponsored by academic and administrative units of the University are accepted only for May–August 15 dates. Program priorities for fulfillment of the mission of the WPU/OSC take precedence for the remainder of the year. The sponsoring University unit must play the principle role in planning and implementing the conference. Due to the limited availability of space for conferences, facilities cannot be reserved on behalf of external organizations.
1. The sponsor’s University account number is required on requests for conference space.
2. The sponsor is required to use Campus Catering for all events serving food in the WPU or OSC.
3. The sponsor is required to use WPU/OSC Technical Services for all audio/visual needs.
4. All policies and procedures related to the use of the WPU/OSC and Technical Services apply.


Additional Conference Costs
The sponsor assumes responsibility for all fees related to: security, technical services, after-hours staffing, food service, and any other direct costs.

Virtual EMS Master Calendar

The EMS calendar allows a user to view events in the University buildings. This tool is a great way to find available space or to find the location of an event you are attending.